Windows 9 video shows new Start menu

The design of Windows 9’s new Start menu has been revealed in a video of an early build of the operating system.

The leaked video, published by the German site WinFuture, shows a pre-beta build of Windows 9, and so the final design of the Start menu may change significantly before the final release, which is expected next year.

However, it shows Microsoft’s current thinking on how the new desktop Start menu will work, functioning as a hybrid of the old Windows 7 Start menu and the Windows 8 Start screen.

On the left-hand side of the Start menu, the familiar list of installed applications returns, seemingly combining both desktop applications and modern Windows apps, alongside shortcuts for Windows Explorer, frequently used folders and other tools. A search bar at the foot of the left-hand pane allows users to type the name of desired applications or tools.

The right-hand pane is a mini version of the current Windows 8 Start menu, with resizeable tiles for the Windows Store apps. As with the current Start screen, the tiles can display live data and can be rearranged in whichever order the user chooses. As the user adds or removes tiles from the Start menu, the window size increases/decreases accordingly.

The video shows a taskbar properties menu that provides the option to use the Start menu instead of the Windows 8-style Start screen, which remains in place for those who prefer it. It’s likely Microsoft will make the new-look Start menu the default for PCs and laptops, in the same way that Windows 8.1 Update now boots to the desktop by default on such devices.

App behaviour

The video also confirms an expected change to the way the Windows Store apps behave. Instead of snapping to the edges of the screen, the apps can be freely resized in their own windows, in exactly the same manner as traditional desktop apps.

This may mean that apps developed for Windows 8/8.1, which were designed to accommodate only full-screen use or a thin strip down the side of the screen, will have to be redesigned.

Microsoft is expected to release a Technical Preview of Windows 9 within the month.

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